Saturday, December 20, 2008

The sites and tools that I liked the most during 2008

Something that I really like about the web are not only the tons of info, but the great tools for different purposes and all of them with great results.

During 2008, the tools that I used and liked the most were:

1.- Animoto (http://www.animoto.com)
Great platform to create videos. If you need to create a great quality video at a low budget or without budget, then Animoto is a great solution. You can automatically create videos (in minutes) and the outcome is even better than some "professional" produced. I really like Animoto

2.- Get Satisfaction (http://www.getsatisfaction.com)
This is a free tool to implement a suggestion in-box to your site. It helps not only to manage the feedback for the site, but it does it also by page or category as well.

3.- ScreenToaster (http://www.screentoaster.com)
If you have a site and you have a FAQ section, then a video (walk through) would be the best answer illustration. Now you can do it for free with Screen Toaster. I like it a lot for my sites help sections

4.- SlideRocket (http://www.sliderocket.com)
I did not use slide rocket as often as I wanted to, but it doesn't mean it's not a great tool, because it is. PowerPoint can not deliver final presentations like the Apple Keynote ones, but with Slide Rocket, you will be able to upload your ppt and make it as nice as an Apple's Keynote presentation (or even better)

5.- Google Insights for Search (http://google.com/insights/search/)
I see it as the evolution of Google Trends. It is just great. Try it, you will see great insights from the search terms that you are interested into. From Google I also strongly used the Webmaster tools, Analytics, Maps, Documents. When I was at Yahoo! I tried to look for similar things from Y!, but Google is far away with this kind of tools. you must try a lot of these tools

6.- Scribd and Issuu (http://www.scribd.com and http://www.issuu.com)
These are not just sites in where we are able to search for different kind of documents (like SlideShare or DocStoc also) but the thing that I like about these two, is the capability to use their document browsers at your site, so you can provide now a better user experience in your own site and it will be powered by Issuu or SricBD. You do not need to invest in code or wait for the development.

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The other links that I will post are related to the sites (not tools) which I consider interesting to me. The design, experience, innovation, etc are the things that made me went there more than 10 times, just to see the site, read it or use it.

7.- Pandora (http://www.pandora.com)
I do not need to explain Pandora, for me... the best on line radio experience, with an awesome user experience in terms of the GUI and how do they post the ads inside the site, that is something that I admire also

8.- Razorlight (http://www.razorlight.co.uk/)
What???? yes this is a band web site, and... WOW!!!! what a great way to use video in a site. just go there and see what I mean. I hope they still have the full screen video experience... reduce the browser window (do not minimize it, only make it smaller) and you will see how the video goes smaller also, with out loosing the streaming delivery. The GUI, the music, etc... what a great site. I used to design a lot (more than 8 years ago). If you are a designer, then try it. The full experience is the music, image, video, font, etc... that is design, the hole package

9.- TechCrunch (http://www.techcrunch.com/)
My number one source for new things, news and for my own daily entertainment is TechCrunch. My proffered blog. I strongly recommend it

10.- Revision 3 (http://www.revision3.com) and other through Apple TV
Diggnation, Tekzilla and GreekBrief.TV (http://www.geekbrief.tv/) are my top video resources through my Apple TV, also the CNet content and much more. Try the video blogs through this video streaming boxes (like the apple tv) It is truly something better than TV

Thanks for 2008 and I hope we can have a better 2009. Let's not just hope it, but fight for it. It has to be a better year.

Regards
Jorge A. Herrera Rojas